Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.Proverbs 22:6 Modern English Version (MEV)
Being a parent is honestly the hardest job we will ever endeavor to take on. There is no rule book, no one piece of advice that is the magic bullet, and as much as we struggle it all comes down to our own abilities in how our children turn out. I say this because I work with children who are growing into young adults and listen to their parents who agonize over all their decisions and honestly are caught in the proverbial trap of social media and mobile devices that has shrunk our world. But I find this one proverb still holds a measure of truth from the moment it was penned to this very day, train your children in the virtues of God and they will never depart from it.
The next hardest job we are born into is being a sibling, a son or daughter, a cousin, uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece. Each of these roles within a family help to shape the children within our family no matter the distance in time or space. Each role is important as their unique opinion or life experience can lend a helping hand to mold the malleable minds of every other member of the family from the oldest to the youngest. If done correctly a father can rely on a brother or sister to reach a child with a perspective that is different from that of the parent. A grandparent can approach the problem from a life filled with experience and wisdom. Cousins can speak about generational concerns with words more familiar. Each member of the family is important in their own way. Here is the downside: these are roles we must want to take on and take pride in their fulfillment.
I say these things to you my brothers and sisters to bring home the truth about God, one that is earth-shattering and so fundamental to our own growth and preparations in becoming parents ourselves. God our Father in Heaven is the only source of love and forgiveness. He alone gave the gift of love, demonstrated how it works, and proved he practices what he preaches in the forgiving of all our sins through Jesus Christ, his only son. So, in everything I preach, I always bring it down to love and forgiveness. I will always remind people that though we are not perfect in our obligations of being a parent, a sibling, uncle, aunt, son, daughter, a nephew or niece, and yes, regrettably there are times we say things and do things we wish we could take back. We must hold fast to our God who made us malleable, he constantly gives us opportunities to follow his lead, he never gives up, and he loves us even when we are at our worst. God our Father is our example and though we may not live up to this ideal all the time, there is no excuse not to try.
Being malleable means the following… ‘capable of being shaped or changed, whether physically or mentally.’ – Unknown Author. Within that definition, being malleable is being willing to learn, grow, understand, comprehend, love when you are upset, forgive when you don’t feel like it, challenging your personal paradigm, adapting to earth-shattering events, admitting there is a better way, giving credit where it is due, and last but not least being gracious and kind with your actions and words. Being malleable is being a lifelong learner and lifelong lover of God by living your life with purpose and relentlessly seeking the wisdom of our Father and Creator. In this lifelong practice, parenting becomes a little easier, being a sibling becomes more doable, and being a son or daughter a little more rewarding. So, being malleable is having an open mind, quick to love, and slow to anger.
In conclusion, I say to you my brothers and sisters, ‘1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches and loving favor rather than silver and gold. 2 The rich and poor have this in common, the Lord is the maker of them all.” – Proverbs 22:1-2. Write these words into your heart and know that if you practice being a good person with a good honorable name, unbreakable in faith, seeking God’s wisdom rather than riches your life will be filled with love. Your teachings to your children will bear fruit worthy of delighting in. But, if you ignore the fact God created us all equally and seek dishonesty and rudeness your children will be a misery to us all. Being a productive part of a family can be messy, can be filled with heartache, pain, and profound disappointment. Your parents may say or do things you disagree with, your siblings may be disagreeable in their actions, and our sons and daughters may surprise us with an unthinkable point of view. But in all the chaos if every member seeks understanding, is sincere in being malleable then there is no problem that cannot be overcome while maintaining a good name for everyone involved. But with equal effect, if you choose to remain quiet, unresponsive, and use silence as a weapon then the emptiness you plant will someday be harvested ultimately being utilized for an unproductive outcome that could tear a family apart. Again, my brothers and sisters God gave us free will and the minds to go our way. He constantly gives us opportunities that can change our lives for the better. We are all connected and all affected both positively and negatively in what we choose.
Let Us Pray!
Pray this in the silence of your hearts –
‘Dear Lord, I pray to always remain malleable in my words and actions, I ask for your strength to face my family with love, truth, and understand ready always to forgive. Be that sibling, father, mother, son, daughter, aunt, uncle, cousin, nephew, or niece that is relentlessly seeking a good name by dedicating my life to learning your wisdom then actively applying it, teaching your virtues to my children. Dear Lord, open my mind make it malleable so you may shape me into the more perfect version of myself. Please do the same for all the members of my family so that they too may reap the rewards of unconditional love in your arms.’
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
May the Lord bless you, and keep you from all evil and bring you to everlasting life.
Saint Joseph Pray for us.
Sancte Ioseph, Ora pro nobis